Tag Archives: decisions

On the verge of something new…


It will take an extra second today before we start the new year, but we are really close. UTC time will add it so that this year we will see a 12:59:60.

Is there anything keeping you back from becoming all that God has in store for you? Is there anything in the way of something new happening in and thru your life? You are where you are at such a day and such a time for a purpose, what will you do with it? Where will you turn to get the wisdom you need? Who will you ask to give you a sign? How will you know the specifics?

As we count down 2016 are you setting goals for the new year? What is motivating the goals? What is driving the goals? Where are the ideas for the goals coming from? So what will you do about it? How will achieve this goals? Do they align to your purpose? Will you come up with a plan?  Will you take hold your time to accomplish what God is calling for you to do? How will 2017 be different? How will 2017 be special? How will 2017 make a difference? How will lives be changed and touched in 2017?

And with still today to be had — how will you close out the year strong?


10 days left in my 365 day devotional. How will it set me up for the year ahead? What message can I take from it as I consider what 2017 will include? How will I be able to please God in 2017? What can I do to bring Him praise and honor and worship? Today is the day that the Lord has made, so I will rejoice and be glad in it! We need to appreciate every day we have! We need to appreciate the lives of the people God has brought into our lives! We need to let them know how thankful we are for them and how much we love them! Today…not later when it might be too late and generate regrets! So no regrets and leave today to the fullest!


Listen to what is going on around you! Listen to what is being said! Listen to what will be the impact! Consider how it will or may impact God’s people! Be it Christians or Jews, consider what people are doing and saying that will and can impact God’s people! Do you hear what they are saying? Do you hear what they are doing? Do you realize the threats?

Consider from today’s reading what Haman did! What has taken place in the world recently? What could the impact be? Is there anything you can do about it? What if someone called for you to step up and step out and do something before it was too late? What if you had the position or the power like Esther and got asked to do something like Mordecai asked for Esther? How would you respond? What would you do? Could it be that you have been put in such a place for such a time as this?

What could change your perspective? What could change your vision? What could change your viewpoint? How would that impact your behavior and actions? Would you do anything?

Will you step up and step out to do what is required of you? Will you take time like Esther and be bold and courageous to step out and do what is necessary? Will you ask people to join you in prayer and fasting to ensure that you do what is right? Will you receive the favor that has been set before you? Will you do something about it? Will you hold tight to what the Lord has planned and purpose to do in and through your life? Will you do like Esther and step out to complete what she had been called to do?

Now do you realize what is really being asked or are you assuming? Might you be hearing one thing which doesn’t align to what is being said because you are too proud like what happened to Haiman? Do you realize what your pride could do? Do you remember how pride comes before the fall? Do you remember how you are to walk in humility? Will you be a humble servant of God? Will you be a servant leader of those God brings into your life?

So as this past year ends like a dream, as the great things happened, how will you move forward? Will you try to go it alone or will you turn to God the provider and align with Him? Let’s turn to God and ask of Him of what we have need of! Let’s ask, seek, and knock so that He will answer, we will find, and He will open!

So as we close today, let’s join in the final chapter of today’s reading together…

How to Please God

1Keep on loving one another as Christians. 2 Remember to welcome strangers in your homes. There were some who did that and welcomed angels without knowing it. 3Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them. Remember those who are suffering, as though you were suffering as they are.
4 Marriage is to be honored by all, and husbands and wives must be faithful to each other. God will judge those who are immoral and those who commit adultery.
5 Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never leave you; I will never abandon you.” 6 Let us be bold, then, and say,

“The Lord is my helper,
I will not be afraid.
What can anyone do to me?”

7Remember your former leaders, who spoke God’s message to you. Think back on how they lived and died, and imitate their faith. 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 9Do not let all kinds of strange teachings lead you from the right way. It is good to receive inner strength from God’s grace, and not by obeying rules about foods; those who obey these rules have not been helped by them.
10The priests who serve in the Jewish place of worship have no right to eat any of the sacrifice on our altar. 11 The Jewish high priest brings the blood of the animals into the Most Holy Place to offer it as a sacrifice for sins; but the bodies of the animals are burned outside the camp. 12For this reason Jesus also died outside the city, in order to purify the people from sin with his own blood. 13Let us, then, go to him outside the camp and share his shame. 14For there is no permanent city for us here on earth; we are looking for the city which is to come. 15Let us, then, always offer praise to God as our sacrifice through Jesus, which is the offering presented by lips that confess him as Lord. 16Do not forget to do good and to help one another, because these are the sacrifices that please God.
17Obey your leaders and follow their orders. They watch over your souls without resting, since they must give to God an account of their service. If you obey them, they will do their work gladly; if not, they will do it with sadness, and that would be of no help to you.
18Keep on praying for us. We are sure we have a clear conscience, because we want to do the right thing at all times. 19And I beg you even more earnestly to pray that God will send me back to you soon.

Closing Prayer

20-21God has raised from death our Lord Jesus, who is the Great Shepherd of the sheep as the result of his blood, by which the eternal covenant is sealed. May the God of peace provide you with every good thing you need in order to do his will, and may he, through Jesus Christ, do in us what pleases him. And to Christ be the glory forever and ever! Amen.

Final Words

22I beg you, my friends, to listen patiently to this message of encouragement; for this letter I have written you is not very long. 23I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been let out of prison. If he comes soon enough, I will have him with me when I see you.
24Give our greetings to all your leaders and to all God’s people. The believers from Italy send you their greetings.
25May God’s grace be with you all.

–Hebrews 13

 


Today's Reading: Esther 3, Esther 4, Esther 5, Esther 6, Psalm 126, Hebrews 13

God’s Timing is perfect…


Do you realize the time you are living in? Do you realize the time that has gone by? Do you realize the time that is ahead? Do you realize what it means? Do you realize what needs to happen? Do you realize what you need to do? Do you realize what it will take? Will you stand up to make a difference? Will you stand out to get God’s attention? Will you humble yourself and submit yourself to God? Will you lead the people into a relationship with God? Will you point them to Jesus? Will you be an ambassador of peace? Will you be an ambassador of hope? Will you be an ambassador of Jesus to the world around you? Will make a request to God? Are you ready for the insight and wisdom from God? Are you ready to have things aligned and put into their right place?

Do you realize that Jesus came the first time to reconcile? Do you realize that Jesus came the first time to make a way when there didn’t seem to be a way? Do you realize that Jesus came the first time to pay the ultimate price, once and for all so that everyone who will believe in Him will not perish but have eternal life?

Will you choose life? Will you choose hope? Will you choose truth?

We do not have to be afraid! We can put all of our trust in Jesus! We do not have to worry but rather through prayer and petition we can raise our cares to God! We do not have to be afraid, we just need to believe! Even with the faith of a mustard seed if we tell a mountain to be thrown into the sea it will be done! Ask God to build your faith! Ask God to give you the boldness and courage you need for each day! Fellowship with Jesus throughout the day! Don’t try to go it alone but in all ways at all times, pray!

We don’t have to worry because the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it! Turn to God! Humble yourself and as Jesus into your heart that you can be reconciled to God! Be transformed! He is mindful of us! He can help us when we are tempted because He was tempted and overcame the temptation!

As we meditate and consider this, let’s close together with our reading from Hebrews 2…

Warning to Pay Attention

1We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

Jesus Made Fully Human

5It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. 6But there is a place where someone has testified:

“What is mankind that you are mindful of them,
a son of man that you care for him?
7You made them a little lower than the angels;
you crowned them with glory and honor
8and put everything under their feet.”

In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them. 9But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
10In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. 11Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. 12He says,

“I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters;
in the assembly I will sing your praises.”

13And again,

“I will put my trust in him.”

And again he says,

“Here am I, and the children God has given me.”

14Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. 16For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abrahamʼs descendants. 17For this reason he had to be made like them,fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. 18Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

–Hebrews 2

 


Today’s Reading: Daniel 9, Daniel 10, Psalm 50, Hebrews 2

What would it take to get things straightened out?


If your life was getting off track, what would it take to get straightened out?

If your family was getting off track, what would it take to get straightened out?

If you city or community was getting off track, what would it take to get straightened out?

If your state or province or country was getting off track, what would it take to get straightened out?

Today’s reading begins speaking to what Babylon’s part was in trying to get things straightened out. It speaks the role Babylon played.

How severe would it need to be in the questions posted above to get things straightened out? Would it have to be life or death level? Would it have to impact the good and the bad? Would you have to be riddled with fear or weakness? Would the threat have to be so severe that it might get your attention? What would it take to get you or people in general to turn back to God and align to His ways?

Would it have to be so bad and so terrifying for to get your attention? Or could a sign of heaven get your attention and get you to turn back to God?

What behaviors need to stop? What activities need to stop? What actions need to stop?

What behaviors need to be swapped out? What needs to begin? What needs to get restarted?

Do you see the bloodshed taking place? Innocent blood? Guilty blood?

What will it take for people to turn back to living life God’s way? What will it take to turn things around so that we are living lives of love? Loving God! Loving people!

Invite God into your life! Invite Jesus into your heart! Ask for forgiveness! Live as humble servants!

From top to bottom, from bottom to top, how will we align so that we will live with God rather than apart from God? Will we live lives of servant leadership? Will we humbly come before the throne of God? There is power in the name of Jesus! So will you confess, will you bow down before you are forced to? Will you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior?

So let’s reflect on the questions as we read from Galatians together…

1What I am saying is that as long as an heir is underage, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. 2The heir is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. 3So also, when we were underage, we were in slavery under the elemental spiritual forces of the world. 4But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. 6Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 7So you are no longer a slave, but Godʼs child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

Paulʼs Concern for the Galatians

8Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. 9But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? 10You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! 11I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.
12I plead with you, brothers and sisters, become like me, for I became like you. You did me no wrong. 13As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you, 14and even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself. 15Where, then, is your blessing of me now? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. 16Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?
17Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may have zeal for them. 18It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always, not just when I am with you. 19My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, 20how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!

Hagar and Sarah

21Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? 22For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise.
24These things are being taken figuratively: The women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. 25Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. 27For it is written:

“Be glad, barren woman,
you who never bore a child;
shout for joy and cry aloud,
you who were never in labor;
because more are the children of the desolate woman
than of her who has a husband.”

28Now you, brothers and sisters, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29At that time the son born according to the flesh persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. 30But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave womanʼs son will never share in the inheritance with the free womanʼs son.” 31Therefore, brothers and sisters, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.

–from Galatians 4

Let’s live out our lives as children of God! Let’s cry out to our Abba Father!


Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 21, 22, Galatians 4

Where are you at today?


Are you rejoicing or lamenting? Are you celebrating or mourning? Are you dancing or weeping? Why?

What do you see around you? Does your perspective make the difference? Is it based on location? Is it based on situation? Is it based on circumstance?

Is it based on truth? Is it based on facts? Is it based on hypothesis? Is it based on speculation? Is it based on rumor? Is it based on gossip?

Is there hope? Is there expectations? Do you stand on solid ground? Are you rooted in good soil? Are you well nourished? Are you producing good fruit?

So will you be rebellious? So will you be obedient? We are all given the ability to choose!

Do you seek wisdom? Do you turn to God? Are you looking for answers? Are you seeking the truth? Do you know where you stand? Do you realize where you are heading? Are you hoping for more? Are your expectations right?

Will you humble yourself? Will you seek God with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength? Will you pray? Will you petition? Will you turn from wicked ways? Will you turn back to God? Do you seek forgiveness? Do you want to repent? Do you want healing in the land? Do you want unity? Do you want restoration? Do you want hope? Do you want joy?

Are you taking for granted what you have? Are you realizing the gifts you have been given? Do you realize the blessings in your life? Are you thankful?

Are you rebelling? Are you fighting? Are you arguing?

Will you be obedient to God’s will? Will you receive the gift of His Son Jesus Christ?

We all get a choice! Adults get a choice! Children get a choice! We each get to make our own choice! It’s our decision that we will be measured against! So have you chosen? Will you choose? Is the choice something you picked by following your parents? Is it from following your friends? Is it from peer pressure? Is it from freedom?

Will you be faithful? Do you realize that every good and perfect gift comes from God? Don’t worship the things or the stuff, worship God!

How bad do things need to get before you will turn back to God? How painful does it have to get before you fall down and cry out to God for help and for forgiveness? Would it take a vision of heaven or of hell to get your attention? Which would help you to choose? Which would provide you enough evidence to decide?

Don’t compare yourself to others! Don’t compare what you have to what they have! Do not covet!

It’s all about love! Love God! Love your neighbor! It’s when we miss out on these two facts that we get off track and start heading in the wrong direction!

How long will you make God wait? He is patient and desires that nobody would perish!

But not everyone will decide to choose Him and His way!

So as today’s reading concludes in Galatians, let’s read through it together and ponder where we are at and how we will respond to the call of God! Will you believe? Will you have faith? Will you give yourself to God and be adopted into His family?

Faith or Works of the Law

1You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? 4Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain? 5So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? 6So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
7Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. 8Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.” 9So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
10For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” 11Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” 12The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” 13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” 14He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

The Law and the Promise

15Brothers and sisters, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ. 17What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.
19Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator. 20A mediator, however, implies more than one party; but God is one.
21Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.

Children of God

23Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. 24So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.
26So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29If you belong to Christ, then you are Abrahamʼs seed, and heirs according to the promise.

–Galatians 3

 


Today’s Reading: Ezekiel 19, 20, Galatians 3

Are you walking in pride?


Do you realize how pride impacts your perspective? Do you realize how pride impacts your choices? Do you realize how pride drives your consequences?

Ever heard “pride comes before the fall“? Do you realize the impact pride is having over you and others? Do you realize the impact of pride on your nation?

Will you humble yourself before you need to be humbled? Will you turn back to God before it is too late? Will you turn back to God, humble yourself, and pray? Do you realize the benefits of doing this? Do you realize the consequences of not doing this?

Don’t be stubborn! Don’t be hard hearted! Don’t be so proud! Don’t be so disobedient!

Would you change if you knew what was coming ahead of time? Or will you continue on your way into darkness where you will stumble and fall because of your pride? We are at a crossroads and the decision is at hand. The decision that is made will determine the outcome and the consequences or the benefits of where our hearts and minds are at in relations to God!

Turn back to God before it is too late! Align your words, your thoughts, and your actions with God’s will! What you do and how you do it matter! Not just to you but to those around you and in some cases much broader than that.

So don’t be surprised by what happens! Don’t be shocked! Check the status of your heart and mind! Have you had a new heart created in you? Have you been renewing your mind?

Do you realize the consequences of things you’ve done on you, your family, your community, your country, and your world?

How spiritually dry do you want this world to get? How about if there was a physical drought that aligned with how societies relationship with God were? Can you feel what things are like today? Are they closer or further away from God than it was 10, 20, 30 years ago? Do you realize the impact of walking away from God? Do you realize the impact of walking out from under the protection of God? The devil is real! The devil’s plan is to lie, steal, and destroy you in the hopes of killing you! So don’t be deceived by the lies! Don’t be robbed of all that God desires for you! So don’t be cheated out of what was available to you! Turn back to God before you are destroyed! Come back under His covering! Receive Jesus! Return to Jesus! God desires for you to return – consider the story of the lost son! How far down the spiral do you want to go before you choose to turn back?

What this was the end of times? Which side would you end up on? God doesn’t want anyone to perish, but that decision is an individual one that we each get to and have to make for ourselves. God has a plan and it is to give you a hope and a future! God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whosoever would believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting life! Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world, but to save it!

So now we get to choose! I pray that you will choose before it is too late! I pray that you will choose before you don’t get to choose! I pray that I will get to see you and spend eternity with you in the presence of God!

God, I lift up the cries of my heart to You. I ask Lord for your wisdom and vision to be spoken into the young and old of this world that they may know the truth! I ask Lord that you will give them visions and dreams of what the future will or could be based on their decisions. I ask Lord in Jesus’ name that many lives will be saved, that Your name will be lifted up, that people will be transformed for Your glory. May You receive all the praise, the honor, and the glory Lord, in Jesus’ name.

Grant me protection Lord! Put a hedge of protection over my family and friends and acquaintances Lord that they will all receive the grace and the mercy You have to offer!

Lord, I know that in this world, we will have troubles! I know that in this world we will face trials of many kinds! I know Lord that you give us hope because Jesus has overcome the world and because You tell us to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds.

So let’s be generous! Let’s be giving! Let’s be forgiving! Let’s not be going about life focused on ourselves, but rather let’s be focusing on God’s plan, God’s purpose, God’s way lived in and out thru us.


Today’s reading: Jeremiah 1314, Psalms 141, Acts 24, 2 Corinthians 8

What’s leading or directing your decisions?


Faced with a decision to make, what is guiding you? Faced with decision to make, what is directing your path? Faced with decision to make, who or what are you following?

How about at work when options come before you? How about in your country when it comes to picking leadership during the elections? How about in your community when you need to choose where and when and if to get involved?

Is it based on peer pressure? Is it based on group decision? Is it based on a gut feel? Is it based on analyzing all the data? Is it based on alignment to God’s way and will?

sign-post-what-is-directing-your-decision-and-path

Imagine how things would be different if everyone put God in the center of all of their lives! Imagine Jesus being the center for every decision and hence being lead by the Holy Spirit in every decision you make!

jesus-at-the-center-of-it-all

Let’s stop focusing on the thing and start focusing on the creator! Let’s stop focusing on the created and start focusing on the creator! Let’s stop focusing on rituations and start focusing on having a relationship with God!


Today’s reading kicks off in this line in Hosea…

Idols Thrown Down

1“Put a shofar to your mouth! Like a vulture he comes against the house of Adonai. For they overstepped My covenant and transgressed My Torah. 2 Will they cry out to Me, ‘My God, we—Israel—knew You’? 3Israel has rejected goodness— an adversary will pursue him. 4They crowned kings, but not by Me. They appointed princes I did not approve. Their silver and gold they made into idols— just so they would be cut down. 5Samaria! Your calf is thrown down! My anger is kindled against them! How long will they be incapable of innocence? 6For a craftsman from Israel made it, so it is no god. For the calf of Samaria will be splinters. 7“For they sow wind, and reap a whirlwind. There is no mature grain— the sprout yields no meal. Should it produce anything, strangers would swallow it up. 8Israel has been swallowed up! Now they are among the nations, like an ornament with no delight in it. 9For they have gone up to Assyria, like a wild donkey alone by itself. Ephraim has hired lovers. 10Although they hire among the nations, I will now round them up. So they will begin to decrease under the burden of king and princes. 11“When Ephraim multiplied altars for making sin offerings, they became his altars for sinning. 12Though I were to write out for him ten thousand things from My Torah, they are regarded as something strange. 13Sacrifices are gifts for Me— should they sacrifice meat and then eat it? Adonai will not accept them. Now He will remember their iniquity and punish their sin— they will return to Egypt. 14For Israel has forgotten his Maker and built temples, while Judah has multiplied fortified cities. So I will send fire upon its cities that will consume their citadels.”

–from Hosea 8

How far away can you get before you get into trouble? How far from under the protective cover can you get before you get hurt? How far will you wander before you turn back?

Days of Desolation Are Coming

1Do not rejoice, O Israel, do not celebrate like the peoples— for so you have gone whoring away from your God. You have loved a prostitute’s pay, on every grain-threshing-floor. 2Threshing-floor and wine-press will not sustain them, and new wine will fail her. 3They will not dwell in Adonai’s land. Instead Ephraim will return to Egypt, and eat unclean food in Assyria. 4They will pour no wine-offerings to Adonai— they would not be pleasing to Him. Their sacrifices will be like the bread of mourners for them. All that eat it will be defiled, for their bread is for their appetite, not coming into the House of Adonai. 5What will you do for a moed or for the day of Adonai’s feast? 6Look, even if they escape the desolation, Egypt will gather them up; Memphis will bury them. And their precious silver treasures? Weeds will possess them. Thorns will be in their tents. 7The days of punishment have come; the days of retribution have come. Let Israel know! The prophet is a fool; the man of the spirit is mad! For great is your iniquity and great the hostility. 8Ephraim is a watchman with my God, a prophet. A bird catcher’s trap is on all his paths. Hostility is in the House of his God. 9They have deeply corrupted themselves as in the days of Gibeah. He will remember their iniquity, He will punish their sin. 10“Like grapes in the wilderness I found Israel. Like early fruit on a fig tree in its first season I saw your fathers. They came to Baal-peor and devoted themselves to shame. So they became as detestable as the thing they loved. 11Ephraim’s glory flies away like a bird— no birth, no pregnancy, no conception! 12For if they should raise their children, I would make them childless to the last man. Yes, woe to them when I depart from them! 13Ephraim, as I have seen, is like Tyre, planted in a meadow, but Ephraim will bring his children out to the slayer.” 14Give them, Adonai, what will You give? Give them a miscarrying womb and dried up breasts. 15“All their wickedness is at Gilgal, for there I despised them. Because of their wicked practices, I will drive them out of My House. I will love them no more. All their princes are rebellious. 16Ephraim is blighted; their root is withered; they bear no fruit. Even if they bring forth children, I will slay the cherished ones in their wombs.” 17My God will cast them off, since they did not listen to Him. So they will become wanderers among the nations.

–from Hosea 9

What is going to take to bring you back into alignment with God? Will you need to see something? Will you need to hear something? Will you need to feel something? Will you smell or sense something? What would need to happen to really get your attention?

Will you change the way you are living? Will you set an ethic to follow? Will you look to live righteously? Will you look to live a covenant of love? Will you soften your heart to the things and ways of God? Will you humble yourself and give your life up to God?

What will you sow? What will that cause you to reap?

Israel to be Shamed in Captivity

1A luxuriant vine is Israel, who produces fruit for himself. Like the abundance of his fruit he has multiplied his altars. Like the goodness of his land, they made beautiful sacred pillars. 2Their heart became smooth. Now they will bear their guilt. He will break down their altars. He will destroy their sacred pillars. 3Surely now they will say: “We have no king, for we have not feared Adonai. The king—what can he do for us?” 4They spoke words— empty oaths to make a covenant. But judgment springs up as hemlock in the furrows of the field. 5The inhabitants of Samaria will quarrel over the calves of Beth-aven. Indeed its people will mourn over it, but its priests will tremble over it. For its glory will surely depart from it. 6It also will be carried to Assyria as tribute to a warring king. Ephraim will receive shame and Israel will be put to shame by its own counsel. 7Samaria is being cut off. Her king is like a splinter on the surface of the water. 8The high places of Aven, the sin of Israel will be destroyed. Thorns and thistles will come up on their altars. And they will say to the mountains: “Cover us!” And to the hills: “Fall on us!” 9“From the days of Gibeah, you have sinned, O Israel. There they took their stand. Will not war over sons of iniquity overtake them in Gibeah? 10When I desire, I will chasten them, and peoples will gather against them when they are yoked to their two sins. 11Though Ephraim is a trained heifer that loves to thresh, I put a yoke over her fair neck. I will make Ephraim pull; Judah will plow; Jacob will drag a harrow by himself.”

Plow Up Your Ground

12Sow for yourselves righteousness. Reap in accord with covenant love. Break up your unplowed ground. For it is time to seek Adonai, until He comes and showers righteousness on you. 13You have plowed up wickedness, you have reaped iniquity. You have eaten the fruit of delusion, for you have trusted in your own way, in the multitude of your mighty men. 14A tumult will arise among your people. All your strongholds will be demolished, as Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel in the day of battle, when a mother was dashed in pieces with her children. 15Just so has Bethel done to you because of your great wickedness. At dawn the king of Israel will be utterly cut off.

–from Hosea 10

What’s it going to take for God to get your attention? Do you realize what He has already done for you? Do you realize how much Jesus did? Do you realize what is at hand? Do you realize what is available? Do you realize it’s a choice we each have to make individually? So choose wisely! Choose to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior and to follow Him all the rest of your life!

My Son Called Out

1“When Israel was a youth I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son. 2They called out to them but they departed from their presence. They kept sacrificing to the Baalim and burning incense up to idols. 3Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk. I took them on My arms. But they never acknowledged that I had healed them. 4With human cords I was drawing them, with bonds of love, and I became to them as One lifting a yoke from their jaws. I bent down to them and fed them. 5He will not return to the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian will be his king— because they refused to return. 6So a sword will fall on his cities, and destroy and devour his gate bars because of their own counsels. 7So My people are bent on turning from Me. Although they are being called upwards, none will rise up. 8“How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I surrender you, Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I set you as Zeboim? My heart is turning over within Me. My compassions are kindled. 9 I will not vent My fierce anger. I will not again destroy Ephraim. For I am God—not a man— the Holy One in the midst of you, and I will not come in fury.” 10They will walk after Adonai. He will roar like a lion. Indeed, He will roar and the children will come trembling from the west. 11“They will come trembling like a bird out of Egypt, like a dove out of the land of Assyria, and I will settle them in their houses.” It is a declaration of Adonai.

–from Hosea 11

Make your choice fast! Make your choice soon! Don’t wait till it is too late! Take a look around and see the signs of the season! Every year when I go through the Bible, I feel like we are getting closer based on what is taking place in the world!

you-have-a-choice-to-make-choose-wisely

Signs of the End

1As Yeshua was going out of the Temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, look! What stones and what buildings!” 2Yeshua said to him, “You see these great buildings? Not one stone here will be left upon another. Every one will be torn down!” 3As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the Temple, Peter, Jacob, John, and Andrew were questioning Him privately, 4“Tell us, when will these things happen? What will be the sign that all these things are about to be accomplished?” 5Yeshua began to tell them, “Watch out that no one leads you astray! 6Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and they will lead many astray. 7When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed, for this must happen but it is not yet the end. 8For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines. These things are only the beginning of birth pains. 9“Watch out for yourselves! They will hand you over to the courts, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will stand before governors and kings because of Me, as a witness to them. 10The Good News must first be proclaimed to all the nations. 11When they arrest you and hand you over, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Say whatever is given to you in that hour, for it is not you who speaks but the Ruach ha-Kodesh. 12Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. And children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. 13And you will be hated by all because of My name, but the one who endures to the end will be saved.”

Birth Pangs Before Deliverance

14“But when you see ‘the abomination of desolation’ standing where it should not be (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains. 15The one on the roof must not go down, nor enter to take anything out of his house. 16And the one in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. 17Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 18Pray that it will not happen in winter. 19“For in those days there will be trouble such as has never happened, not since the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will. 20And unless Adonai had cut short those days, no one would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom He chose, He cut short the days. 21“And then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here’s the Messiah!’ or, ‘Look, there He is!’ do not believe it. 22For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and show signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, the chosen. 23So be careful! See, I have told you everything beforehand.”

Messianic Victory

24“But in those days, after that trouble, ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, 25and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.’ 26And then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. 27Then He will send out the angels and will gather together His chosen from the four winds, from the end of the earth, to the end of heaven.”

Keep Watch

28“Now learn the parable from the fig tree. When its branch becomes tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. 29So also, when you see all these things happening, know that it is near, at the door. 30Amen, I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things happen. 31Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away. 32But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven nor the Son, except the Father. 33“Keep on the lookout! Stay alert! For you do not know when the time is. 34It is like a man away on a journey. After leaving his house and putting his servants in charge and giving each his task, he also commanded the doorkeeper to watch. 35Therefore stay alert, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, when the rooster crows, or in the early morning. 36So watch in case, coming suddenly, he finds you asleep. 37What I say to you I say to all: ‘Stay alert!’”

–from Mark 13

 

Are you aware of what impact you are having?


Do you know what your words are saying to people? Do you know what your actions are doing to people? Do you realize the impact you are having on others? Do realize what you are doing? Are you even aware of what’s taking place? Consider it! Consider the response(s) you are getting!

Today’s reading starts with us learning about Joseph. Consider the situation described. Consider if you were one of the brothers how you would feel. Imagine if you were told such a dream by one of your siblings. Imagine if you being treated as second fiddle to them. How would you feel? Now imagine if you were Joseph. Hmmm. How will God use that situation? How will God’s greater plan turn what some planned for evil and use it for good? God doesn’t get surprised! So let’s take a look and see what we can grasp from the story today…

Joseph, Favored Son

1Now Jacob dwelled in the land where his father had sojourned, in the land of Canaan.
2These are the genealogies of Jacob. When Joseph was 17 years old (he was a youth), he was shepherding the flocks with his brothers—with the sons of his father’s wives Bilhah and Zilpah. Joseph brought back a bad report about them to their father.
3Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his other sons because he was the son of his old age. So he had made him a long-sleeved tunic.
4When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak to him in shalom.
5Then Joseph dreamed a dream and told his brothers—and they hated him even more.
6He said to them, “Please listen to this dream I dreamed.
7There we were binding sheaves in the middle of the field. All of a sudden, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around and bowed down to my sheaf.”
8“Will you truly be a king over us?” his brothers said to him. “Will you really rule over us?” So they hated him even more because of his dreams and because of his words.
9But then he dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers, saying, “I have just dreamed another dream. Suddenly, there was the sun and the moon and the eleven stars bowing down to me!”
10He told it to his father as well as his brothers. Then his father rebuked him and said to him, “What’s this dream you dreamed? Will we really come—your mother and I with your brothers—to bow down to the ground to you?”
11So his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the speech in mind.

Joseph Betrayed

12Then his brothers went to graze their father’s flocks at Shechem.
13Israel said to Joseph, “Aren’t your brothers grazing the flocks in Shechem? Come, let me send you to them.” “Here I am,” he said to him.
14Then he said to him, “Go now, and check on the welfare of your brothers and the welfare of the flocks and bring word back to me.” So he sent him from the valley of Hebron and he went to Shechem.
15A man found him there, wandering in the field, and the man asked him, “What are you looking for?”
16“I’m looking for my brothers,” he said. “Please tell me where they’re grazing.”
17The man said, “They moved on from here. For I heard them saying, ‘Let’s go to Dothan.’” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them in Dothan.
18Now they saw him from a distance. Before he was close to them they plotted together against him in order to kill him.
19They said to one another, “Here comes the master of dreams!
20Come on now! Let’s kill him and throw him into one of those pits, so we can say that an evil animal devoured him. Then let’s see what becomes of his dreams.”
21But Reuben heard and rescued him out of their hands, saying, “We must not beat him to death.”
22In order to rescue him from their hand and to return him to his father, Reuben said to them, “Don’t shed blood! Throw him into this pit here in the wilderness, but don’t lay a hand on him!”
23So as soon as Joseph came up to his brothers they stripped Joseph of his tunic (the long sleeved tunic that he had on).
24Then they took him and threw him into the pit. (Now the pit was empty, with no water in it.)
25Then they sat down to eat bread. When they looked up, behold, there was a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, with their camels carrying gum, balsam, and myrrh—going to bring them down to Egypt.
26Then Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is there if we kill our brother and cover up his blood? Come on!
27Let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites. Let’s not lay our hand on him—since he’s our brother, our own flesh.” His brothers listened to him.
28When some men, Midianite merchants, passed by, they dragged Joseph up and out of the pit and they sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for 20 pieces of silver, and they brought Joseph to Egypt.
29When Reuben returned to the pit and saw that Joseph was not in the pit, he tore his clothes.
30Then he returned to his brothers and said, “The boy is gone! And I—where should I go?”
31So they took Joseph’s tunic, slaughtered a billy goat, and they dipped the tunic into the blood.
32Then they sent the long-sleeved tunic, and it was brought to their father, and they said, “We found this. Do you recognize whether or not it is your son’s tunic?”
33He did recognize it and said, “My son’s tunic! An evil animal has devoured him! Joseph must be torn to pieces!”
34Jacob tore his clothing and put on sackcloth and mourned for his son many days.
35All his sons got up along with all his daughters to console him, but he refused to be comforted. He said, “For I will go down to Sheol to my son, mourning.” So his father kept weeping for him.
36Meanwhile the Midianites sold him into Egypt, to Potiphar an official of Pharaoh, the commander of the bodyguards.
–from Genesis 37

Can you see the innocence of Joseph’s stories or do you think he was acting maliciously? Can you see the frustration of his brothers with the coat of many colors, with the dreams, with the favoritism? Can you see the build up that was taking place? Do you think they went too far? Do you think it could have been handled differently? Do you think someone might have been able to speak into the situation and diffuse it? God doesn’t get surprised and can use every situation to His glory. He can take what others plan for evil and turn it around use it for good! So no matter where you are and what you are going through keep your focus on God and put your hope and trust in Him! Do what you are supposed to do and let God take care of the rest. Even if you are tricked. Even if you are misjudged. Even if you are forgotten. God will not forget and God will never leave you nor abandon you! Put your hope and trust in Him!

Today’s reading continues in Genesis…Are you good to your word? Are you able to do what you promised? Will you play with trickery and then get bit when you get tricked? How will you walk? How will live? How will your example model life for others?

Judah and Tamar

1About that time Judah went down from his brothers and he camped near an Adullamite man, whose name was Hirah.
2There Judah saw the daughter of a Canaanite man whose name was Shua, and he took her as wife and slept with her.
3Then she became pregnant and gave birth to a son, and he named him Er.
4She became pregnant again and gave birth to a son, and she named him Onan.
5She gave birth to yet another son and she called him Shelah. He was in Chezib when she gave birth to him.
6Then Judah got a wife for Er, his firstborn, and her name was Tamar.
7But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was evil in Adonai’s eyes, so Adonai put him to death.
8Then Judah said to Onan, go to your brother’s wife to perform the duty of a brother-in-law to her, and raise up a seed for your brother.
9But Onan knew that the seed would not be his. So every time he went to his brother’s wife he would destroy it on the ground so as not to provide a seed for his brother.
10What he did was evil in Adonai’s eyes, so He put him to death also.
11Then Judah said to his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Stay as a widow in your father’s house until my son Shelah grows up,” because he thought, “Otherwise he too might die, like his brothers.” So Tamar went and stayed in her father’s house.
12Now the days became many, and Shua’s daughter, Judah’s wife, died. After Judah consoled himself, he went up to Timnah to his sheepshearers, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite.
13Then Tamar was told, “Look! Your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his flocks.”
14And she removed her widow’s clothes from herself, covered herself with a veil, wrapped herself, and sat by the entrance to the springs on the way to Timnah (for she saw that Shelah had grown up and she had not been given to him as a wife).
15When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute because she had covered her face.
16So he turned aside to her along the way and said, “Please let me sleep with you” (for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law). “What,” she asked, “will you give me to sleep with me?”
17“I will send you a young goat from the flock,” he said, “Provided you give a pledge until you send it,” she said.
18“What kind of pledge shall I give you?” he asked. “Your seal, and your cord, and your staff in your hand,” she said. So he gave them to her and he slept with her, and she got pregnant by him.
19After she got up and left, she removed her veil from herself and put on her widow’s clothes.
20When Judah sent the young goat by the hand of his friend the Adullamite to take back the pledge from the woman’s hand, he could not find her.
21He asked the men of her area saying, “Where is the cult prostitute? She was at the springs along the way.” But they said, “There hasn’t been a cult prostitute here.”
22So he returned to Judah and said, “I couldn’t find her, and the people of that place also said, ‘There hasn’t been a cult prostitute here.’”
23Then Judah said, “Let her take them for herself, or we’ll be held in contempt. Behold, I did send this young goat, but you couldn’t find her.”
24About three months later, Judah was told, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar has been a prostitute—look, she’s even pregnant by prostitution.” “Bring her out!” Judah said, “and let her be burned.”
25As she was being brought out, she sent word to her father-in-law saying, “I’m pregnant by the man to whom these things belong.” Then she said, “Do you recognize whose these are—the seal, the cords and the staff?”
26Then Judah recognized them and said, “She is more righteous than I, since I didn’t give her to my son Shelah.” He was not intimate with her again.
27Now when it was time for her to give birth, behold there were twins in her womb.
28While she was giving birth, one stuck out his hand, and the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it to his hand saying, “This one came out first.”
29But as he was pulling his hand back in, behold, his brother came out. So she said, “How you have broken through! The breach is because of you.” And he named him Perez.
30Afterward his brother, on whose hand was the scarlet thread, came out. And he named him Zerah.
–from Genesis 38

Thing may not be what they appear! We need to turn to God even when the situation seems familiar and in the past you handled it a specific way. We need God’s wisdom daily, in every situation, in every circumstance, we need His direction and guidance. So ask, seek, knock – for those who ask find answers, those who see will find, and those who knock get it opened for them.

There are times when your troubles may try to follow you. Keep your eyes on Go and allow His Spirit to lead you and guide you, protect you and shield you. Do you realize that there are some people who believe in a lot of gods? Do you realize there are people who aren’t aware of GOD? Will you share the truth? Will you share the love? Will you share the reason for the hope that is within you? Will you be a catalyst for hope, love, joy? Will you point people to the one who is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than you could ever ask or imagine?

Today’s reading continues into Acts…Let’s catch up with Paul and see how he is doing and what we can learn from his experiences…

Synagogue Responses Vary

1After passing through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue.
2As was his custom, Paul went to the Jewish people; and for three Shabbatot, he debated the Scriptures with them.
3He opened them and gave evidence that Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead, saying, “This Yeshua, whom I declare to you, is the Messiah.”
4Some of them were convinced and became attached to Paul and Silas, as were a large number of the God-fearing Greeks and no small number of the leading women.
5But some of the Jewish people became jealous. Taking some wicked fellows of the marketplace and gathering a crowd, they stirred the city into an uproar. They attacked Jason’s house, trying to bring Paul and Silas out to the mob.
6When they did not find them, they instead began dragging Jason and some of the brethren before the city officials, shouting, “These men who have upset the world have come here too,
7and Jason has welcomed them! They are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king, Yeshua.”
8Hearing these things, the crowd and the city officials were confused.
9But after receiving bail from Jason and the rest, they released them.
10As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas to Berea. Upon arrival, they made their way to the Jewish synagogue.
11Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, because they received the message with goodwill, searching the Scriptures each day to see whether these things were true.
12Therefore many of them believed, as well as quite a few prominent Greek women and men.
13But when the Jewish people of Thessalonica learned that the word of God had been proclaimed by Paul in Berea, they came there too, agitating and inciting the people.
14Then the brothers immediately sent Paul away to the sea, but Silas and Timothy remained there.
15Those escorting Paul brought him as far as Athens. After receiving an order for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they left.

An Unknown God in Athens

16Now while Paul was waiting for them in Athens, his spirit was aroused within him when he saw that the city was full of idols.
17So he was debating in the synagogue with the Jewish people and the God-fearers, as well as in the marketplace every day with all who happened to be there.
18Also some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him. Some were saying, “What’s this babbler trying to say?” while others, “He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign deities”—because he was proclaiming the Good News of Yeshua and the resurrection.
19So they took Paul to the Aereopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are talking about?
20For you are bringing some strange things to our ears, so we want to know what these things mean.”
21Now all the Athenians and foreigners visiting there used to pass their time doing nothing but telling or hearing something new.
22So Paul stood in the middle of the Aereopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I see that in all ways you are very religious.
23For while I was passing through and observing the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: ‘To an Unknown God.’ Therefore what you worship without knowing, this I proclaim to you.
24The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by hands.
25Nor is He served by human hands, as if He needed anything, since He Himself gives to everyone life and breath and all things.
26From one He made every nation of men to live on the face of the earth, having set appointed times and the boundaries of their territory.
27They were to search for Him, and perhaps grope around for Him and find Him. Yet He is not far from each one of us,
28for ‘In Him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His offspring.’
29Since we are His offspring, we ought not to suppose the Deity is like gold or silver or stone, an engraved image of human art and imagination.
30Although God overlooked the periods of ignorance, now He commands everyone everywhere to repent.
31For He has set a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness, through a Man whom He has appointed. He has brought forth evidence of this to all men, by raising Him from the dead.”
32Now when they heard about the resurrection of the dead, some began scoffing. But others said, “We will hear from you again about this.”
33So Paul left from their midst.
34But some men joined with him and believed—among them Dionysius (a member of the council of the Aereopagus), a woman named Damaris, and others with them.
–from Acts 17

So how will you press on? How will you move forward? How will you answer the call? How will you explain the hope that is within you? How will you give an answer when someone asks? Do you have a story? Do you have a testimony of what God has done in and through you? Do you have a story of how you were transformed? Do you have a story ready to tell when someone asks? Be prepared! God is setting up the good works He has for you to do! Be prepared to get it done!

Today’s reading concludes in Matthew. Are you feeling the pressure of this world? Are you carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders? Would you be willing to hand it over to God? Would you be willing to trade it for something that is easy and light? Let’s hear what Jesus has to say…

Signs and Wonders Bear Witness

1When Yeshua had finished instructing His twelve disciples, He went on from there to teach and preach in their towns.
2Now when John heard in prison about the works of the Messiah, he sent word through his disciples
3and said to Yeshua, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”
4Yeshua replied, “Go report to John what you hear and see:
5the blind see and the lame walk, those with tza’arat are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised and the poor have good news proclaimed to them.
6Blessed is the one who is not led to stumble because of Me.”

A Prophet Without Honor

7Now as they were leaving, Yeshua began to talk to the crowd concerning John. “What did you go out to the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?
8No? So what did you go out to see? A man dressed in finery? Look, those who wear finery are in the palaces of kings!
9Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, even more than a prophet.
10This is the one about whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send My messenger before You, who will prepare Your way before You.’
11“Amen, I tell you, among those born of women, none has arisen greater than John the Immerser. Yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
12From the days of John the Immerser until now, the kingdom of heaven is treated with violence, and the violent grasp hold of it.
13For all the prophets and the Torah prophesied until the time of John.
14And if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come.
15He who has ears, let him hear!
16“But to what shall I compare this generation? It’s like children sitting in the marketplaces who call to one other, saying,
17‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance. We wailed, but you did not mourn.’
18“For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’
19The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.”
20Then Yeshua began to denounce the towns where most of His miracles had happened, because they did not turn from their sins.
21“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have turned long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
22Nevertheless I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the Day of Judgment than for you.
23And you, Capernaum? Will you be lifted up to heaven? No, you will go down to Sheol! For if the miracles done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained to this day.
24Nevertheless I tell you that it will be more bearable for the land of Sodom on the Day of Judgment than for you.”
Yeshua Teaches the Ways of His Father
25At that time Yeshua said in response, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and of earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and discerning and revealed them to infants.
26Yes, Father, for this way was pleasing to You.
27“All things have been handed over to Me by My Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.
28Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
29Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and ‘you will find rest for your souls.’
30For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
–from Matthew 11

Jesus offers a trade! Jesus is willing to take our weary and burdened lives and give us rest. Jesus is willing to swap the heaven and hard life for an easy and light one. Are you willing to do it His way? Are you willing to give it over to Him? In this world we will have troubles, but we are able to take heart for He has overcome the world! In this world we will face trials, but we can consider them pure joy for when they complete their work in us we will be complete and lacking nothing!

Ever caught yourself thinking about the good old days?


Ever been in a funk and started to flashback to “the good old days”? Ever found yourself in such a place of despair that you start to think about the days gone by with memories that were so great? Ever found yourself facing troubles or trials and looking back and wishing that things could be like they used to be?

Do you realize the “good old days” may have been good, but had you stayed there you wouldn’t have learned or developed or grown to be who you need to become?

Do you realize that the place you are now isn’t a destination but part of the path?

Don’t get stuck there, rather consider what you are to learn so that you will be able to move forward and onward towards who you will become.

Realize that whatever you are going through will be something you will learn from and be able to use it going forward in a powerful and motivational way.

I remember after having an incredible time with many mountain tops watching it all disappear. I remember God speaking to me to start looking for the next thing, but I was “too comfortable” and did see any reason to need to, until it was too late. I remember learning the importance of forgiveness through the trials and troubles which has helped me to be able to relate to people who are going through troubling times. Forgiveness isn’t all about them, it’s about freeing yourself, to be able to move forward and become who God created you to be. I remember a test where I could have gotten bitter and upset again, but from my first experience, my first response was to forgive and not only did that keep me from sliding down a slippery slope, but it also provided an incredible testimony to the team around me.

Today’s reading begins in Job 29 and we see him remembering better days. Remembering how he served others. Remembering how God blessed those efforts. Remembering how he enjoyed it. Remembering how others appreciated him. Looking back at what had been…

So where are you at today? Do need help? Are you wondering where your help comes from? As for me and my how we will serve the Lord! And we know that our help and our hope comes from God!

Today’s continues into Psalms 121 and it goes like this…

He Watches Over You

1A Song of Ascents. I will lift up my eyes to the mountains— from where does my help come?
2My help comes from Adonai, Maker of heaven and earth.
3He will not let your foot slip. Your Keeper will not slumber.
4Behold, the Keeper of Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps.
5Adonai is your Keeper. Adonai is your shadow at your right hand.
6The sun will not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
7Adonai will protect you from all evil. He will guard your life.
8Adonai will watch over your coming and your going from this time forth and forevermore.
–from Psalms 121

Put your trust in Him! Going up the mount or at the mountain top, put your trust in God and praise Him! Going down the mountain or into the valley, put your trust in God and praise Him! Consider it pure joy! Remember it rains on everyone!

God is looking to help the sick and the lost. Is that your plan and purpose too? Are you looking to help others that God has brought into your life? Are you walking with eyes wide open to be able to see the need? Are you listening to the stories and the voices to be able to notice the need? Will you be salt and light? Do you realize without contact salt and light don’t have much affect? So will you make an impact on the lives of those around you? Will you allow your salt to spice up the situation, to clean things up, to clear things up. Will you allow your light to clarify, to make visible the reality of what’s going on, to show you the path to walk? We are to be good stewards of what God gives us, so let’s not waste what we have been given, but rather let’s take it and multiply it. Let’s make it about glorifying and trusting in Him rather than allowing fear to keep us from becoming all that He has created us to be.

Today’s continues into Luke 19 where we see Jesus’ interaction with Zacchaeus where we receive the message that Jesus came to seek and save the lost. It continues into the parable of the talents and stewardship and how if we are good stewards more will be given unto us, but if we aren’t even what we have will be taken away. It was getting close to the time to go to Jerusalem for the final stand. So here is how it played out…

28After saying these things, Yeshua was going on ahead, up to Jerusalem.
29When He got near Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, He sent two of the disciples,
30saying, “Go into the village ahead. As you enter, you will find a colt tied up, that no one has ever sat upon. Untie it and bring it.
31And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say, ‘The Master needs it.’”
32Those who were headed out found things just as He told them.
33Then as they were untying the colt, his owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?”
34They said, “The Master needs it.”
35Then they brought it to Yeshua, threw their cloaks on the colt, and set Yeshua on it.
36And as He went along, the people were spreading their cloaks on the road.
37When Yeshua came near the slope of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began to rejoice. They praised God with a loud voice for all the miracles they had seen,
38saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of Adonai! Shalom in heaven and glory in the highest!”
39Some of the Pharisees from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples!”
40But answering, Yeshua said, “I tell you that if these keep silent, the stones will shout out!”
41As He drew near and saw Jerusalem, He wept over her,
42saying, “If only you had recognized this day the things that lead to shalom! But now they are hidden from your eyes.
43For the days will come upon you when your enemies will surround you with barricades and hem you in on all sides.
44And they will smash you to the ground—you and your children within you. And they won’t leave within you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”
–from Luke 19

When Jesus got to the temple, he saw that people were cheating others and doing business in a way that was bad.

45Then Yeshua entered the Temple and began to drive out the merchants,
46saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’”
47And He was teaching every day in the Temple. The ruling kohanim and the Torah scholars, even the leaders of the people, were trying to destroy Him;
48but they could not find any way to do it, because all the people were hanging on His words.
–from Luke 19

Today’s reading concludes in Revelation 14. Will you choose to praise God? Will you choose to follow God? What if it happens to be the end of days? Even if you happened to wait till the last moment, will make the decision before it is too late? Which side will you pick? What outcome do you want to have? Even in the end you get a choice! Today’s reading from Revelation goes like this…

A Song for the 144,000

1Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him were 144,000 who had His name and His Father’s name written on their foreheads.
2And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and the booming of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like harpists playing on their harps.
3And they are singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one is able to learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.
4These are the ones who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been redeemed from among mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb.
5And in their mouth was found no lie—they are blameless.

Three Angels with Messages

6And then I saw another angel flying high in the sky, having a timeless message of good news to proclaim to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation and tribe and tongue and people.
7He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come. Worship the One who made heaven and earth and sea and springs of water.”
8Another angel, a second one, followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen, is Babylon the great— she who made all nations drink of the wine of the fury of her immorality.”
9And another angel, a third one, followed them, saying in a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand,
10he shall also drink the wine of God’s fury, poured full strength into the cup of His wrath. And he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone before the holy angels and before the Lamb.
11The smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever. Those who worship the beast and its image and those who receive the mark of his name have no rest day or night.”
12Here is the perseverance of the kedoshim—those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Yeshua.
13Then I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write: How fortunate are the dead—those who die in the Lord from now on!” “Yes,” says the Ruach, “that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them.”

Time to Harvest the Earth

14Then I looked, and behold, there was a white cloud—and seated on the cloud was one like a son of man. He had a golden crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand.
15Then another angel came out of the Temple, crying out with a loud voice to the One seated on the cloud, “Put in your sickle and reap, for the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth is fully ripe.”
16So the One seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested.
17Then another angel came out of the Temple in heaven, and he also had a sharp sickle.
18Then another angel—the one who has authority over fire—came out from the altar; and he called out with a loud voice to the one holding the sharp sickle, saying, “Put in your sickle and gather the grape clusters from the vineyard of the earth, because her grapes are ripe.”
19So the angel swung his sickle over the earth and gathered the clusters from the vineyard of the earth and threw them into the great winepress of the wrath of God.
20And the winepress was stomped on outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress as high as a horse’s bridle for 1,600 stadia.
–from Revelation 14

 

We all have choices. You choose!

Ever been in a tough situation and not known where to turn?


Was it a physical issue? What it an emotional issue? Was it a financial issue? Was it a relational issue? Was it a finance or resource issue? Was it a spiritual issue? Or is it that you are going through it now? What did you do or will you do? Where will you go? Where will you turn?

We see in Job’s situation from today’s reading in Job 22 and 23 that he is still facing accusing friends and trying to defend himself and get answers. God always hears us! God always knows what is going on! The feeling that God isn’t answering isn’t new but the reality is the teacher is always quiet during the test. Be it in school or in life. Will we turn to God? Will we consider what’s going on? Will we search ourselves to see and better understand what is going on? Will we grab a hold of Him and allow His work to complete it’s work in us?

Before Jesus there were things people may not have understand. Before Jesus there wasn’t the new testament’s wisdom. Before Jesus the fulfillment of the promise hadn’t taken place. God’s ways are not our ways! His ways are higher than our ways! His ways are better than our ways! Jesus speaks to us hope that without Him, without a relationship with Him, we would miss out on. Be it the message of hope that we shouldn’t worry because worry changes nothing. Be it the message of hope that in this world we will have troubles, but to have hope because Jesus has overcome the world. Be it the message to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds for it builds perseverance which helps us to endure, and when enduring finishes its work, we will be perfect, complete, and lacking nothing. Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father interceding for you and for me. The Holy Spirit is with us when we start this relationship and is our comforter and guide. There are still things we may not understand, but we now have the hope within us that allows us to keep going! Jesus provides with a joy unspeakable that won’t go away! Joy is from God! It’s more than an emotion! It’s a decision!

So how will you do on the test? Will you allow it to give you a testimony? Will you allow it to be something you can testify about?

We need to building up our relationship with God! We need to allow our relationship with Jesus to be real and strong. We need to be trustworthy with what we are given! If you are trustworthy with little then you will be trusted with more. If you are unfaithful with little then you won’t get the chance and won’t be trusted with more. Can others trust you with their stuff? Who will you serve? You can’t have two masters! Today’s reading in Luke 16 Jesus puts it this way…

for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stick by one and look down on the other. You cannot serve God and money.

–from Luke 16:13

It may not be something you want to hear and it wasn’t something that the Pharisees wanted to hear either. What is your motivation? Why are you doing what you do? What drives your decisions? How do you weigh the decisions you need to make? What’s the deciding factor or the driving factor? Where does it point to your leader? Who do you serve? God sees beyond the surface? He sees your true heart! So which way will you go? God’s way? The world’s way?

Consider this story! How far would you have to go before you believed?

19“Now there was a rich man dressed in purple and fine linen, living it up in luxury every day.
20But a poor man named Lazarus had been laid at his gate, covered with sores
21and longing to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Besides, even the dogs were coming to lick his sores.
22“It happened that the poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. Then the rich man also died and was buried.
23And from Sheol, as he was in torment, he raised his eyes. And he sees Abraham far off, and Lazarus at his side.
24So he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me! And send Lazarus so he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, because I am suffering torment in this flame.’
25“But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your life you received your good things, even as Lazarus received the bad things. But now he is comforted here, and you are tormented.
26Besides all this, between us and you a great chasm is firmly set, so that those who want to cross over to you cannot, nor can those from there cross over to us.
27“Then the rich man said, ‘I beg you then, Father Abraham, send Lazarus to my father’s house!
28For I have five brothers to warn, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
29“But Abraham says, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets. Let them listen to them.’
30“But he said, ‘No, Father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’
31“But Abraham said, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead!’”
–from Luke 16

Will do something about it today before it is too late? Will you share the love of God? Will you receive the message of hope through Jesus Christ? Will you decide today? Will you take a turn for the better? Or are you willing to have to deal with the consequences of your decision to stay away from God?

Today’s reading concludes in Revelation 11. It speaks of the 2 witnesses! 2 witnesses that will testify! 2 witnesses that will prophesy! Those one the earth won’t like what they have to say or what they have to do. Nobody will be able to stand against them. But the beast will come out of the abyss and make war on them and kill them. People will rejoice for a little while before life is breathed back into them creating even more fear into all those watching. They didn’t even allow a proper burial, they just left the bodies out for people to look at. Once they are alive again, God will call them back up into heaven. There will be a great earthquake with much destruction and fear and all of this concluded the second woe but there is a third one coming soon.

Before moving into the next part of this I wanted to share something that came to mind. When Jesus comes back, everyone is going to see it. When Jesus came the first time, it was in humility of a baby born in a manger at a humble time in history. Consider today how close we are to such a reality. Consider how if something big goes on how nearly everybody in the world is able to see it at once. Be it on TV! Be it on the web! Be it on the radio! So how close are we to His return? I know it felt close back when I started this blog back in 2005 and at that time I started reading the book of Revelation, hence 2005 to Eternity.

Now back to our reading…where the seventh angel blew his trumpet.

“The kingdom of this world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Anointed One. And He shall reign forever and ever!”

The time for judgment is getting closer. But it’s not too late yet! So call on Jesus and ask Him into your heart!

 

 

Have you ever lost something and then found it? Have you ever been at a loss for words, and then it came to you?


Make sure that you do your due diligence, so that you are able to complete the work you are wanting to start. Make sure you have the funds to complete it. Make sure you have plans that will stand the test of time.

Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it-lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.


What do you say your are? What if someone said they were a giver and stopped giving. What if someone said they were lovers of people and stopped loving. What if they were encouragers and stopped being encouraging? Is there anything we say we are, but have stopped doing anything about it?

"Salt is good; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land nor for the dunghill, but men throw it out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"


Have you ever lost something? Don’t you go looking for it? Don’t you celebrate when you find it? Imagine if it was something huge, wouldn’t you have a big celebration over finding it?

Then all the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him. And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, "This Man receives sinners and eats with them." So He spoke this parable to them, saying:

"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.

"Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? And when she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors together, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the piece which I lost!’ Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."


Have you found your way? You have free will to choose and do whatever you want. How have you chosen? Have you chosen options that are beneficial, that build up, that bring advancement for good, tear down things that are holding back good works? Have you chosen options that lead you down a spiraling pattern, that cause you or those around you pain, that have taken you away from your destiny?

Then He said: "A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.

"But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants."’

"And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

"But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.

"Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’

"But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’

"And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’"

God is calling to you. God is looking for you to turn back and come home to Him, Your Heavenly Father. When He sees you coming, He will come running to You. When you come to Him with a humble and repentant heart, He will lift you up and forgive you. God loves you so much and desires to have a daily journey with You, standing with you, going in front of you to prepare the next step, watching your back. He isn’t about religion, He is all about relationship.

How is your relationship with God today? Are you needing to turn back to Him? If You turn back to Him, He will turn to You. If you call out to him, He will hear you. Call out to Jesus today, ask for forgiveness, tell Him that You believe He is who the Bible says He is, the son of God. Tell Him how much you appreciate the painful sacrifice He mad for you and for me by giving up his life on the cross so that we could be reconciled with God the Father. And ask Him to send the Holy Spirit to be your comforter and your guide for the rest of your life.


Today’s Reading: Luke 14:2515:32; Psalm 107:1-3; Proverbs 19:11

 

WORSHIP

Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy,
And gathered out of the lands,
From the east and from the west,
From the north and from the south.
Psalm 107:1-3

WISDOM

The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, and his glory is to overlook a transgression. (Proverbs 19:11)